Limited Offering Smokey and the Bois

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The day has come. We’ve made the call to part with the last 67 bottles of our highly coveted Smokey and the Bois, a very special blend of three different barrel aged beers that was crafted for us nearly 3 years ago to celebrate our 20 year anniversary. I’d be hard pressed to part with it if it weren’t for the fact that I’ve already got 5+ cases stashed in our in-house beer cave! We’ve been sitting on a small portion of our remaining inventory with the intent of releasing it to our members after it had been laid down for a few years. The holidays seem like the right time to do it. It’s available only to active members of The Rare Beer Club and you will be limited to just two bottles.

Smokey and the Bois was crafted from three different Bruery beers: Black Tuesday (The Bruery’s famous ~20% ABV imperial stout), Bois (an exceptional, bourbon-barrel-aged old ale), and Smoking Wood (an imperial rye porter brewed with beech- and cherrywood smoked malts). And, for even more dimension and complexity, the final blend was aged with vanilla beans and Ecuadorian Nacional cacao nibs.

This is the last of it. Once it’s gone, it’s gone, so if you haven’t already grabbed a bottle or two, now’s your chance.

Merry Christmas from me to you.

Prost!
Kris

Beyond the Bottle: Highlights from GABF

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Kris & Ken at the 2016 GABF

I didn’t screw up anything badly last year, and was pleased to get invited back as a judge for this year’s Great American Beer Festival in early October. (As a relevant side note: I also got to hang with Rare Beer Club owner Kris Calef out in Denver this year, and he definitely was on the hunt for some new and exciting selections for the club.) Overall: 3 days of judging + 3 days of festival.

Of the World Beer Festivals (and upcoming Beer Quest in Charlotte) I help organize with our team over at All About Beer, the majority of the events are happening in our company’s home state of North Carolina. The GABF awards are a lot more interesting when you have a horse in the race, such that (in addition to our NorCal peeps and such), it was a blast to see many of those North Carolina breweries we work with take home a disproportionate bunch of hardware this year. NoDa took gold for their Nodajito. Hi-Wire took gold for Zirkusfest. Wicked Weed won a silver for their Lunatic… And, seemingly out of nowhere, Brown Truck Brewery from High Point, North Carolina was awarded an assortment of medals (including gold in the American- or German-style light lager category, over Coors Light) as well as Very Small Brewing Company of the Year. So not shabby for a brewery established in 2015.

Additional key notables: Pabst took home Large Brewing Company of the Year (and will be joining us for Beer Quest next month). Our editor John Holl and I got sneak peeks of some amazing stuff, including High Water’s new barrel-aged Campfire Stout (with the un-barreled version taking home a gold medal in the Specialty Beer category the next morning). We got a sweet 2016 judge cooler from Mountainsmith (way better than last year’s cutting board). The judging panels were packed, and I ended up reviewing about 150 beer entries over the course of three days—a wee sliver of the 7,227 total entries in this year’s competition. Also: I got to witness a brewery nearby at the Saturday awards ceremony go bonkers when they found out they’d won a category I’d judged the medal round of, which was particularly cool + edifying. The fest and judging rounds ran like clockwork, and I already can’t wait for next year’s event.

Wekken Sour for Sour Beer Day 2016!

wekken-sourOn this second Saturday of September in spirit of Sour Beer day we find ourselves enjoying a Brewmaster’s Collaboration. Left Hand Brewing Co. has graced us with their Wekken Sour, a unique blend of their Wake Up Dead Imperial Stout and De Proef’s Zoetzuur.

This 8.9% ABV pours nearly black and coffee-ground like with a rich cream colored foam head that clings to your glass.

On the first whiff, you are immediately hit by the tart flavors which are then followed up with notes of figs, chocolate covered cherries, and a woody, earthy scent.

Unlike the aroma, the flavor is much more nuanced and complex. As it hits your tongue, you get a sudden rush of tang that quickly passes and is overcome by the richness of roasted malts, leading to a smoother flavor reminiscent of cacao nibs as it washes down just in time for the herbal hop notes to come through and tie everything together beautifully with a dry crisp finish.

Although this beer is perhaps not the best choice for the weather at hand, it was a solid beer that I would definitely recommend to anyone who is looking to venture into the realm of sour beers.

Salud!
David

Pints for Prostates Elevation Rare Beer Club Beer Naming Contest

Elevation BrewingThat’s right, we’re doing still yet ANOTHER beer naming contest! It’s just that we feel really bad for all the folks that still haven’t taken home the grand prize of a 6 month, 2-bottle membership to The Rare Beer Club, so we’re giving you still another chance…Make it count because there’s a good chance that this may be the last one this year. Don’t hold me to it. We still have slots in October and December to fill and I’d like to get as many exclusives in the club as possible this year.

This contest is our annual collaboration with Pints for Prostates, and this year Rick has secured Colorado’s Elevation Beer Company to be the honored brewery to create a beer to help PFP help educate dudes about getting properly screened for prostate cancer. Suffice to say…It’s a really worthy cause, people. The last time Elevation participated in this effort, they brewed an 8.5% smoked Dopplebock and the name that won the contest that year was one of my all-time favorites…Prostator!

I got super fired up when talking to head brewer and co-founder Christian Koch about the beer he has in mind this year. He said something like, “I’m thinking about a blonde barleywine kinda beer made with a shit-ton of wheat and aged in Sauvignon Blanc barrels…What do you think of that?” Just kidding. He didn’t say “shit-ton”, but I wouldn’t have been offended if he did. Anyway, I was thinking to myself, “Self…That sounds mighty fine to me! I’ve never heard of such a thing. Tell me more!”

So we’re calling it an American Wheat Wine. It’s being aged in freshly emptied Sauvignon Blanc barrels for six months. Been in barrels for a little over a month now and the nose is currently showing fruity white wine, light oak, and a mild hop bitterness. It’s going to pick up more of the barrel remnants, of course, as it rests longer. He’s making it with 50% malted white wheat. It’s gonna be pretty full bodied with a starting gravity of 25 plato (1.106 SG). Here are the tasting notes so far, straight from the brewer, that were no doubt composed when he snapped the photo in this post (what a sweet back porch, ya?): “This beer pours a beautiful golden color and has aromas of fruity white wine, light oak, and a mild hop bitterness. The flavor of our Wheat Wine is extremely complex. With 50% malted white wheat, is a full bodied beer with fruity notes of peach, lime, and passion fruit. This beer will age extremely well and flavors will meld and mellow over time.”

It’s gonna be cool.

Here’s what you need to know to play kids.

Entering the Beer Naming Contest

Although the new beer will only be available to members of The Rare Beer Club, both members and non-members are invited to enter the contest and submit up to three names for the new beer. The contest officially begins on Thursday, April 28th, 2016. Entrants will have until 2 pm PDT on Thursday, May 12th, to submit up to three names.

Finalists will be chosen by The Rare Beer Club, Pints for Prostates, and Elevation Beer Co., at which time contestants, club members, and the general public can vote for their favorite name. The winning entry will be announced on Friday, May 20th, and the contest winner will receive a 6-month, 2-bottle membership to The Rare Beer Club.

To receive this special beer, and many more, join the Rare Beer Club online or call 800-625-8238. Be sure to start your membership by September 2016, or earlier, to receive this exclusive beer from Elevation Beer Co.

Have fun!

Prost!
Kris

Rare Beer Club – Upright Brewing Beer Naming Contest Finalists

Upright Brewing LogoOnce again, we’re giving you an opportunity to vote for something where you might actually like one or more of the candidates…Upright Brewing Company’s hoppy, brett spiked Belgian IPA which will be made exclusively for members of The Rare Beer Club!

We thought that perhaps, just maybe, your creative juices where tapped out after the 1200+ submissions we received in our last beer naming contest, but alas, you did not let us down and we received another solid response. Thank you for that.

It’s always a challenge to whittle down a sizable list of great beer names to just three finalists, but Alex, his team and I spent a couple hours laboring over our favorites and now you and your friends get to pick the winner!

Cast your vote here and make sure to do it before the contest ends a week from today on 4-22-16 at 10 am Pacific.

Prost!
Kris